Brad Penny is sharp in St. Louis’ 3-2 win over Fish


The Spring Training atmosphere is transitioning from the laid back workouts in the Florida sun to an intense regular season feel. With a little over a week until Opening Day, the Cards are kicking it into high gear to ensure it is ready to roll out of the gate. Yesterday, Adam Wainwright went six innings and struck out eight. The increased workloads continued today. Brad Penny went six innings and allowed just one run in the Cards 3-2 win over the Marlins.

It was Penny’s best performance this spring in what has been a pretty solid preseason for the new Redbird. While his ERA is high, he has turned in some good performances and improved with each outing. Today was his best by far. He looks to be a very good third or fourth starter for this club. Penny is on a mission this year after a disappointing stint with the Red Sox in 2009. He still has plenty left in the tank and should give the team quality innings in the middle of the rotation.

His counterpart on the mound, Clay Hensley was sharp too. He gave up three runs in six innings. It was a pitcher’s duel in Jupiter. Matt Holliday and David Freese were the highlights on offense, driving in a run apiece. In 19 games this spring, Freese has been very good. If he can keep the momentum going, he will be more than capable at third, which would allow Felipe Lopez to spread his wealth of talents across the diamond as a utility man. Freese is hitting .309 and has driven in 10 runs. He has displayed maturity in dealing with the questions surrounding his personal issues in the offseason.

Kyle Lohse gets his final tune-up Sunday against the Mets. Joe Mather, Nick Stavinoha, and Allen Craig continue to fight for the final two spots on the roster. Each have had success during Grapefruit League play, and bring different components to the club as bench players. Stavinoha has had extensive hitting streaks in building up a .370 batting average. Craig has shown some power to hit the gaps and the occasional homer. Mather spent 54 games in St. Louis as a contributor off the bench in 2008. I like Stavinoha and Craig as pinch hitters that bring different things to the team.